Greg asked a question in the comments from this post. As I began to respond I realized that it was really a full post. You know how I can go on…
“You mention that alcoholics tend to fall too quickly, going into stages of intimacy before it might be wise. To me, someone without addiction issues, this sounds damn near like a lot of people I know. We tend to go for love so quickly and sink into its beautiful disorientation because of how it makes us feel. Can you clarify the difference for me? I’m curious to know.”
Greg, that is a very good question.
Ahhhh. “Beautiful disorientation.” Lovely
First let me say that I’m not talking about stages. I think that is a key word. Many, many alcoholics don’t do stages. They go from stranger to most intimate friend in an hour. Seriously. This one, ME, didn’t do no stinking stages. *laugh* To have any stages at the beginning of a relationship is HUGE progress for me. And I really want to do things differently. But to answer your question more specifically… (edited: it is normal for me, when uncomfortable in a situation such as this, to just get the “discomfort” over with and sleep with him. But I want to give myself the gift of the beautiful disorientation, even though it makes me insane in many ways…)
Alcoholics certainly don’t hold the lock on behavior that doesn’t bode well for long term hopes. Some of us certainly don’t behave that way, however, a great number of us got drunk, took someone home, had sex with them, and then hoped that it would last forever and when it didn’t we either beat ourselves up or beat them up, either verbally or physically. And then, against all sane thought, go out the very next day and do it again. I know that other folks, non-alcoholics, do this too but I doubt they do it to quite the extreme that we manage unless they are bonafide sex addicts. Alcoholics tend to do it to a far greater percentage than the “normal” population. (as an aside, I think much of the population is addicted to something these days but shopping doesn’t tend to make you take home a stranger who could kill you or at least break your heart)
That said, I personally believe, and I do not speak for any other alcoholics but myself, that the source of addiction is the same whether we act out with booze, drugs, shopping, food, sex, gambling, etc… The reason we do whichever of those things we do, well it has the same root problem and the same solution (most of the time). It’s just that the chemical addictions happen to be physically addicting as well as the other mental and emotional problematic stuff.
So, yeah, non-alcoholics can do that kind of thing. They can even believe, rather naively if not stupidly, that it might last forever.
But since getting seriously heart damaged, and continuing old behavior that didn’t work then and doesn’t work now can lead a sober alcoholic or druggie to relapse and die, well it is a far more important issue for folks like me. Sure, the non-chemical addicts can still suicide over that kind of behavior and result, they do do it. But folks like me, we have a much higher chance.
For me, to act in ways that do not feed my soul in a positive and nurturing way, it is risking death through relapse and either plowing my car into a tree or suiciding. And since I know, from many one night stands and hoping that it will turn into marriage (har!), that it really hurts me, I know it’s probably good to wait a bit be more sure of him. And really to be more sure of me too.
Speaking with my housemate about these issues, she and I agreed that while we’ve had some relationships where we waited longer than others, and that to date, none of our relationships have lasted, we’ve had less personal shame behind the ones where we waited. Didn’t feel quite so fucking stupid, to make a pun.
I’ve not saying I won’t jump his bones tomorrow. Who knows, I might. I trust my instincts pretty well. For instance, I knew there were serious things wrong with The Forgiven, but he offered something no one else could. A re-discovery of the fae and pink sparkly parts of myself that I’d spent years trying to kill off. I thought with little risk. I was wrong about the risk but I did rediscover that part of me and she remains. I also was able to process all the rage and hurt behind all the betrayals of my trust over the years. You didn’t really think I was that upset about such an clueless person? I knew he was at least a candidate for Plankdom when I met him. I thought there was more to him than that. There wasn’t. But I was upset about all of them, all those men in the past. And at myself for not waiting, not finding out who they were first. I have moved on and have rid myself of years of pain in 2008. It was a good thing. But I don’t want to go there again. I want to make sure there is really some kind of mutual foundation of respect, maturity, and common ground there before I sleep with someone this time. Right now I only think there is. I don’t know it yet. I want to know it.
I’m still working on making sure I’m reading a person correctly when my heart is involved. I’m pretty darned sure I’m right on target with M. He is by no means a stranger. But I am as yet not sure of his feelings for me besides surface level attraction. So I want to be a bit more sure about this. He is still recently split from someone who didn’t feed him in many ways but he might still need a bit of recovery time. I’m doubting that but I also don’t want to be the rebound girlfriend.
So. I will trust but I will also talk. There are some things that need to be discussed before I make the final decision to strip him to his very core and make him cry out in ecstasy that he was always too numb to feel before. And when I do I hope he does the same for me.